Sicca syndrome takes its name from Latin word “sicca”, meaning dryness. Sicca syndrome is described by uncomfortable burning, itching and gritty sensations present in the eyes affected by dry eyes syndrome.
Dry eyes syndrome accompanied by dry lips and mouth are the classical Sjogren’s syndrome symptoms that are caused by patient’s own immune system attacking tear and saliva producing glands. Sicca syndrome signs can also be present after a person undergoing a face radiation therapy necessary as part of cancer treatment, which in some cases destroys or impairs function of tear and salivary glands.
Once sicca syndrome takes its course, it does not limit itself to dry eyes or mouth symptoms but progresses to affect other major organs of the body like skin, internal organs and virtually everything else. Dry mouth gets uncomfortable to the point that a person affected must hydrate himself constantly in order to be able to swallow food or to stop unpleasant dry mouth sensations.
Sicca syndrome might make wearing contact lenses very challenging due to increased dry eyes syndrome, so contact lenses for dry eyes might be necessary to make patients feel more comfortable and address their vision needs. Patients affected by sicca syndrome are many times more likely to develop contact lens keratitis or inflammation of the eye cornea due to their eyes already being dry and prone to abrasions and subsequent infections.
There’s currently no treatment for sicca syndrome and all medical approaches are designed to compensate for the impaired function of the endocrine system and replenish moisture that is needed for the organs to function. Keratitis sicca is managed by prescribing artificial tear drops that must be instilled regularly to preserve vision in the long run. Certain medications are prescribed to help increase salivary flow in the mouth to aid in proper mouth hydration and food ingestion.